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The Second Alexander: Sultan Allauddin Khilji

Allauddin Khilji was born as Juna Muhammad Khilji in 1250 in Birbhum district of Bengal, to Shihabuddin Masud the brother of the first Sultan of Khilji dynasty- Jalaluddin Firuz Khilji.  Allauddin Khilji was the second emperor of the Khilji Dynasty and was regarded as the most powerful ruler of the Delhi Sultanate. His ideal was Alexander the great whom he wanted to emulate. Despite lacking proper education he grew into a powerful and capable warrior.  By killing his uncle and predecessor- Jalaluddin Firuz Khilji, he captured the throne in 1296 .A.D. and began to build his legacy through invasion of states and territories across the Indian subcontinent. He was the first Muslim ruler to successfully defeat and conquer  the southern parts of India.  He also acquired the Koh-i- noor, one of the largest known diamonds in human history, while invading the Kakatiya rulers of Warangal.

Sultan Allauddin Khilji  was known for both his intelligence and diligence . Obsessed with his dream of conquering he cast aside the temptations of both wine and women, and his time was spent in addressing state affairs. This was the biggest reason of his unmatchable success. While his achievements have been many, some that warrant merit are- The first two years of reign were spent in the suppression of the revolts headed by his rival claimants to the throne. The rebels were suppressed in a relentless manner. Sultan Allauddin also constantly addressed the threat of Mongol invasion from outside. He strengthened the defenses and kept the invaders at a safe distance from his frontiers. Sultan Allauddin was known for his courage and his expedition to Deogir was the greatest proof of his personal boldness and fearlessness. While the odds were heavily stacked against him in this war in the unseen and unknown land of Hindus, his iron will and lion heart he crossed the Alps of hardships successfully.

He also exhibited excellence as general- organizing his army on the most modern lines. For the first time in the history of Hindustan the soldiery – soldiers were directly recruited by the state on the basis of regularly monthly payment.  The jagirdari system was abolished and his army was directly in under his command like the army of Sher Shah Suri. Due to introduction of his famous price control system the life of his solider was quite comfortable and dignified.

He also established a reputation as a great builder where he  created a full-fledged public works department that was capable of constructing a fort in two weeks and a palace in three days, hundreds of palaces, forts were constructed within short period of time. Sir John Marshall  praised Allauddin  as a brilliant craftsman responsible for Alai Darwaz -one of the most treasured gems of Islamic Architecture.

Another admirable trait is that Sultan Allauddin Khilji had great love and respect for all religions especially the religion of his fore fathers. He also showed great respect for ulemas and alulias of his time. Sultan Allauddin was greatest ruler of his time, from north to south from east to west and the whole Hindustan followed him. The establishment of such a vast empire was result of 84 battles. Peace prevailed everywhere in length and breadth of Alai Empire. Everyone whether Hindu or Muslim performed his duties with great loyalty and devotion.

Allauddin took steps to make his administration rigid and sound. He banned the meddling of Ulemas and other religious leaders in the administration and declared that the Sultan’s will is the law. To curb the audacious relatives and aristocrats certain crucial measures-He fixed the price of commodities at a low level and his regulation of the market is regarded as one of the marvels of medieval statesmanship. Amir Khasru, the famous poet, was one of the many literary artists who enjoyed his patronage. Under his rule, he banned alcohol consumption,  gambling and pleasure houses were closed, made it compulsory to take Sultan’s permission before establishing relationship amongst aristocrats and ordered the confiscation of endowments and free grants of land made by the state. To check corruption in the army he introduced dag (mark a horse) and chehra (the physical descriptions of army men). He also constructed a fairly large number of schools, inns, and mosques in different parts of his Empire. Allauddin’s economic measures and more specifically his market regulations have been regarded by historians as marvels of medieval statesmanship.  Allauddin fixed the prices of food grains, cloth and other commodities, and had them enforced rigorously. Everything was set down in tariff; vegetables, fruits, sugar, old, horses, caps, shoes, combs, and needles

Allauddin’s economic measures had important aspect that related to his land revenue policy. Sultan had twin motives of establishing a direct link between the States and the tillers of the soil. Second, he wanted to raise the revenue from the land. The Sultan also put an end to the special privileges of the Chaudhuris (headmen of the parganas), Khuts (zamindars), and Muquddams (headmen of the villages). They were not allowed to ride horseback, to find weapons and to access all the cloth. The Sultan introduced two new taxes—a horse tax and a tax on all milk cows.  He brought down the prices of the essential commodities so that nobody was left in want. People were prosperous and happy. Famine, drought and other natural calamities brought no difference. The Alai price control system worked in all conditions and situations.

The last few years of the great Sultan were very painful and tragic. Taking the opportunity of his inability his commander Malik Kafur assumed the entire power. Allauddin became hopeless and sick and died in the year 1316 A.D. Most historians have praised Allauddin as great ruler and reformer. Within four years of Allauddin’s death, the rule of the Khiljis came to an end. Alauddin’s younger son Shahabuddin was dethroned by his third son Mubarak Shah, who ruled from 1316 to 1320 A.D. He again was killed by a conspiracy by Nasir-ud- din (1320);  and was dethroned and killed in a battle by one Ghazi Malik, the governor of Punjab.

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